Exclusive: Lazard works with Sanofi on $12.7 billion animal health unit deal - sources

Fri Nov 27, 2015 1:51pm EST
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By Pamela Barbaglia, Olivia Oran and Arno Schuetze

LONDON/NEW YORK/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Investment bank Lazard is working with Sanofi's management to prepare a sale or listing of its Merial animal health unit, aiming to land the leading advisory job for the deal, which could value the business at up 12 billion euros ($12.7 billion), sources familiar with the matter said.

Lazard is expected to win the role for the so-called dual-track process having helped Sanofi's management in the ongoing review, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

If successful, the deal will play a pivotal role in getting France's most valuable company back on track and delivering on its five-year strategic plan, after the business was hit by lagging diabetes sales and boardroom rows.

Sanofi and Lazard declined to comment.

Lazard has a close relationship with Sanofi Chairman Serge Weinberg who has often recommended the investment bank on deals carried out by his private equity firm Weinberg Capital Partners, another source said.

Sanofi's new boss Olivier Brandicourt, 59, took the helm of the drugmaker in April and on Nov. 6 unveiled plans to cut costs by 1.5 billion euros by 2018 while seeking bolt-on acquisitions to continue growing its product offering.

But he also hinted at possible disposals, namely Merial and the company's European generic drugs business.

The company said on Nov. 6 these two units provide "limited synergies" and all options would be considered including retention.   Continued...

The Sanofi logo is seen at the company's headquarters in Lyon, France, October 26, 2015.   REUTERS/Robert Pratta